My project is looking at macadamia branching and flowering as part of a PhD at The University of Queensland (UQ). Macadamias in commercial orchards are regularly trimmed to enable machinery access between the rows, and I am interested in the effect of this trimming on fruiting sites. In most varieties the nuts are borne only on older wood, so trimming may over time prevent the replacement of such fruitwood.
I plan to investigate the creation and distribution of fruit wood and how this is affected by trimming, through changes in growth control hormones, branching, floral initiation and light distribution. Results will be integrated with other macadamia knowledge in a model combining architecture and physiology.
The project is funded by the Australian Macadamia Society and Horticulture Australia Limited. Involved as advisors are Jim Hanan of the Centre for Biological Information Technology (UQ), Russ Stephenson of the Queensland Department of Primary Industry and Fisheries, and Shu Fukai of the School of Land, Crop and Food Sciences (UQ).
My undergraduate degree majored in environmental chemistry, after which I worked in engineering disease resistant grain crops with CSIRO. I returned to study international development and worked with agricultural research organisations in Papua New Guinea and Cambodia. I completed a research masters in plant pathology, after which I worked with fungi as biocontrol agents, and then did a stint back in environmental chemistry with composting loos!
Growth stage 6 of a dynamic L-systems model of macadamia development